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‘Wonderful young man’ collapses, dies at Robert Morris soccer practice

�Jesus Lupian seen here from his senior year Hersey High School ArlingtHeights. Lupian 19 Des Plaines collapsed died during Robert

�Jesus Lupian, seen here from his senior year at Hersey High School in Arlington Heights. Lupian, 19, of Des Plaines, collapsed and died during a Robert Morris University soccer team practice Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Flames Fie

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Updated: September 4, 2012 6:15AM



A Robert Morris University soccer player from the northwest suburbs who collapsed during practice and died was remembered Thursday as “a wonderful kid” who was living his dream.

Jesus Lupian, 19, a sophomore from Des Plaines, had been training with his team Wednesday at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s Flames Field on the Near West Side.

He was taken to the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, where he was pronounced dead at 7:20 p.m. Wednesday.

“We got the call to come right away,” Lupian’s sister, Maria Lupian, said through tears Thursday. “And by the time we got there, he was already gone. He’s gone. I can’t believe he’s gone.”

Jesus Lupian was the baby of the family, the youngest of seven children, and soccer was his life.

Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Lupian’s family emigrated to the Chicago area when he was 6 years old. He grew up in Glenview, where he attended Springman Middle School and Glenbrook South High School. He played soccer at both schools.

“From the very beginning, he was a hard worker, a kid who would just look you in the eye and say, ‘Whatever you want me to do, I will do it,’ ” said Hector Carabez, a Glenbrook South soccer coach who became a mentor to the teenager and remained close.

“He just impressed the coaches and did so well that, as a sophomore, he was playing on the varsity team with the big boys,” Carabez said. “And that work ethic extended into the classroom. He was the first one in his family to finish high school and go on to college, and he was so happy. He felt like his future was right in front of him.”

His family moved after his junior year, and Lupian attended Hersey High School in Arlington Heights, where he played soccer his senior year and graduated in 2011.

“When you talk about someone who just epitomized love of the game, it was Jesus,” said Hersey soccer coach Darren Llewellyn. “He was a constant runner, very coachable, and always with a smile on his face. He was just a joyful kid who had overcome quite a bit already. He wasn’t handed a silver spoon, but he stayed focused and worked hard.

“His family lost a wonderful kid,” Llewellyn said.

Lupian considered it a dream come true when he was recruited and offered a scholarship to play soccer at Robert Morris.

“Jesus was thrilled to play soccer as a Robert Morris Eagle,” Robert Morris soccer coach Jake Truty said. “He did it with enthusiasm and dedication and a deep love for the sport. His passing leaves a space that will not easily be filled on the field or in our hearts.”

Grief counselors were at the university in downtown Chicago Thursday to help his fellow students and teammates, as well as coaches, faculty and staff, deal with his death, said Mablene Kruege, the school’s provost.

Lupian was studying accounting.

“He was a wonderful young man and a good student,” Krueger said.

He loved soccer from the time he was little.

“He loved playing soccer,” Maria Lupian said. “Soccer was his life. And he was such a good kid. He wanted to do well so that he could take care of my mom. He wanted to give her everything. After every game, he called her to tell her if they won or lost and let her know he was OK. She’s devastated and can’t stop crying.

“We don’t understand why this happened. He was so healthy, always running and exercising. He never drank, never took drugs and stayed close to home and my mom. We just can’t believe this.”

An autopsy Thursday was inconclusive, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office, which said further studies are being done.

The team had just started training for the fall season, and Lupian “had just passed his physical,” according to Krueger.

Friends and former teammates were trying to deal with the loss.

“It still hasn’t sunk in,” said Edson Castrejon, a friend and teammate at Glenbrook South. “We got pretty close. The last time we spoke this summer, he was inviting me to the beach to play soccer. It was his passion. If he wasn’t playing at school, it was at home.”

David Abiera, another friend and former Glenbrook South teammate, said on Twitter: “Died doing what he loved, soccer. Jesus Lupian, you will be missed.”



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